Trail vs Off-Trail: Hike to the Beat of Your Own or Everyone’s Drum?

Hiking in nature with a friend or two is one of my favourite things to do when I have free time. There’s something about the greenery and walking on untouched paths that gives me serenity. Besides, there are so many health benefits of hiking – it improves the cardiovascular system, increases muscle strength, bone density and similar. The best part about hiking however, is the fact that you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment to do it – the only thing you’ll need are hiking boots.

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Choosing the right hiking boots is sort of a matchmaking process. The right ones need to perfectly fit on your feet and be suitable for the environment you’ll be hiking through. Regardless whether you’re looking for hiking boots for men or women – they’re extremely easy to find in both online and in outdoor shops.

When looking to buy hiking boots for men, forget about looks, flashy features or anything that the internet recommends for you because that does not matter at all when you’re out in the woods hiking. Instead, the things you should consider when shopping are durability, comfort, stability, warmth, water resistance and weight.

Depending on the terrain you’ll hike through, the style of the shoes can differ. However, as a general rule, choose lightweight ones because you do not want to add more weight to an already long and exhausting trip. For instance, off-trail boots would be too much for someone who hikes only occasionally with nothing more than a light backpack and sticks mostly to trails.

When the trail is well maintained and your backpack is light, low-cut or mid-cut boots are the best option. Trail shoes have stiffer soles, better traction and more stability than typical walking or running shoes, but most people find them too unstable under a big payload and rocky or slippery terrain.

When the only trail you see in front of you is goat path through alden tangles and talus, you’ll learn to appreciate the grain leather, rigid sole stability and the above-ankle support that off-trail boots provide. The preferable boot choice for long trips under heavy loads are off-trail high cut hiking boots as they offer the optimum protection for your feet, yet are flexible enough. High mileage hikers will eventually pummel these sturdy boots and they will become softer. Many off-trail boot models are lightweight, thanks to the new sole/mid-sole constructions, giving hikers even more options to pick from.

Author Description

Anthony Hendriks